The Regulatory Program of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) plays a critical role in the protection of the nation's aquatic ecosystem and navigation. Important elements of the program implemented by the USACE under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 include conducting jurisdictional determinations for wetlands and other waters of the United States and navigable waters of the United States; evaluating applications for individual and general permits for activities in these jurisdictional areas; ensuring compliance of issued permits; and enforcing requirements of the law for unpermitted activities. The USACE works closely with other federal, state, and local natural resource agencies and the public in exercising these responsibilities. Fort Worth District Regulatory Branch handouts provide guidance, procedures, and recommendations for submittals to the USACE and assist applicants with complying with Regulatory Program requirements.
Waters of the United States include navigable waters and may include other parts of the surface water tributary system down to the smallest of streams (e.g., tributary that only contains water after a rain event), lakes, ponds, or other water bodies on those streams, and adjacent wetlands (e.g. sloughs, swamps, and some seasonally flooded areas) if they meet certain criteria. Isolated waters such as playa lakes, prairie potholes, old river scars, cutoff sloughs, and abandoned construction and mining pits may also be waters of the United States if they meet certain criteria. An important point is that waters of the United States include areas that are man-made, or man-induced, as well as natural. Activities that occur in waters of the U.S. that require a permit may include, but are not limited to, shoreline and bank stabilization; boat ramps; roads; residential and commerical developments; utilities; flood control facilities; mining; oil, gas and water wells; and in some cases dredging and other excavation.